Murder Mystery Fundraising

Murder Mystery Fundraising

Khushi Feet held its second Murder Mystery night on Saturday 4 November and it was a great success!

The event took place at Mount Ephraim’s manor house, an impressive venue in Hernhill near Faversham in Kent. The Bonfire-themed murder mystery entertainment unfolded around a three-course meal which was provided by local Indian chef Corinne Goodman with dessert provided by The Great British Bake Off semi-finalist, chef and author Chetna Makan. While coffee was served, guests filled out their accusation forms before the actors’ denouement revealed the murderer. Prizes and booby prizes were then awarded to the winning and losing tables.

It seemed to be a hugely enjoyable evening for all, as all our guest left with a big Khushi smile on their face. One of our guests tweeted: ‘Just had a great evening at the murder mystery dinner. Had no idea whodunnit but enjoyed it nonetheless!’

Best of all, the evening made a whopping £1567! This impressive total is thanks to the generosity of our guests, the hard work of our volunteers and the support of those who provided their services for the night.

Special thanks to: the owners of Mount Ephraim for allowing us to use their beautiful venue, Nigel Fairs and 368 Theatre Company for providing such brilliant a murder mystery for us to solve, Corinne’s Creative Kitchen for cooking really delicious starters and main courses for our guests, and Chetna Makan for preparing a divine dessert and generously donating the profits from the sales of her book ‘Chai, Chaat & Chutney’ to Khushi Feet.

This money will be sent to the GNCEM street schools in Kolkata and spent on new clothes which will be given to the children as Christmas gifts. These children live on the streets or in slum areas of the city and own nothing – nice new clothes to wear will help the children to know that they are incredibly special and valued.

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Glastonbury Update

Glastonbury Update

Earlier this year in June, at team of Khushi Feet supporters went down to Worthy Farm in Somerset to attend Glastonbury Festival for a unique Khushi fundraising experience. We joined the Glasto Recycling Crew in exchange for donations to our charity. Team member Emma Smith reflects on that experience.

So now I can call myself a festival-goer. Strangely, I didn’t think I would ever go to a festival – let alone Glasto. Why would I want to sleep in a tent, survive without a shower or surrender to the grotty, soiled toilets?

Well, this is why:

I had the chance to get up at 5:30am every day to litter pick. Just typing this sentence still sounds nuts! Every day the alarm would sound, I would grumble, put on my sweaty shirt and plod on down to our litter picking plot. Why was I doing this? To be awake for the greatest number of hours, of course! No, that was not the reason – I love sleep and really missed it at Glasto. Instead, I was seeking what others often refer to as the ‘festival feel’. Strangely I found this whilst being surrounded by other voluntary litter pickers, not whilst listening to Ed Sheeran – even though he was great, and I was definitely a flustered fan girl. A sense of unity was what I was after, and this I found whilst litter picking. It didn’t matter what you looked like, or how much conversation you were able to make as everyone was there for a reason – to make a difference. This was when I realised I was there to be a part of something more than just the musical hype, I was there to experience the Recycling Team with my best friend (the wonderful Emily Cook – who runs Khushi Feet) and a brilliant team of Khushi Feet supporters. I could not have picked a more friendly, driven and admiral team to have experienced this with. The best part is, this was my first opportunity to contribute to Khushi Feet – and I can’t help thinking that for every piece of litter we picked up, it was as though we were offering a ‘Footstep to Freedom’.

Khushi Feet’s team of 15 litter pickers collectively spent 360 hours litter picking while at Glastonbury Festival and raised a total of £1,500. We’d like to thank the team for their incredible hard work and commitment to what was an exciting but exhausting fundraising experience.

Bonfire Of The Insanities

Bonfire Of The Insanities

Sleepy little Cornish village Morlington Hill is about to embark upon its annual bonfire celebration, ‘The Burning of the Bush’, when someone spots an arm sticking out of one of the bonfires. Help the local police investigate one of the most bizarre and shocking murder mysteries yet!

Following on from last year’s sell-out success ‘The Fall of the Pollocks’, join us on Saturday 4th November 20177pm for 7:30pm at Mount Ephraim House, Staple Street, Hernhill, Faversham, Kent, ME13 9TX for a night of drama and a delicious three-course meal, prepared by Corinne’s Creative Kitchen (Taste of Kent award winner) and Chetna Makan – the Great British Bake Off 2014 semi-finalist.

During your meal the drama will gradually unfold as colourful and entertaining characters (played by professional actors from 368 Theatre Company) introduce you to a world of mystery and intrigue. Over coffee you are invited to fill in your murder enquiry form, and then – in true Agatha Christie style – the murder is re-enacted and an accusation made. At the end of the evening, the table that has spotted the most clues wins a prize.

Bonfire Of The InsanitiesTickets cost £38, with all proceeds going to Khushi Feet, helping to provide an education for children living on the streets of Kolkata.

Our last Murder Mystery evening was sold out well before the event so buy your tickets now! You can buy online (subject to a 0.75p credit card charge), or order your tickets if you are able to pay for and pick them up from Faversham.

We look forward to welcoming you to Mount Ephraim for an evening of murderous fun.

WEST SUSSEX COUNTRY TIMES, November 2010.  “368 Theatre Company stage a stunning performance which cleverly combines some serious and convincing acting with a light, soufflé style approach. Very appropriate.”
Monpanshi

Monpanshi

Here at Khushi Feet, we love it when people show their support for our cause and get enthused to do something to help us raise money to improve the lives of street children in Kolkata.

Recently, we have been completely blown away by the fundraising efforts of some of our supporters in the USA.

In New Jersey on Saturday 6th May, the ‘Monpanshi’ concert was held. The event, organised by Shrabani Nandi, was described as a “small humble effort to be the change we wish to see in the world”. That “small, humble effort” raised an astonishing $6,500 (with more donations still to come). That’s over £4,800 for Khushi Feet! Which is over 410,000 Indian rupees for the street schools in Kolkata!

“I am so happy. I never thought we could raise this much,” says Shrabani. “That day was full of events in New Jersey, but still people showed their love and support. We had a very successful event.” Shrabani has a message to all those who attended the event and made generous donations: “I am really overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from you all. I don’t know where I’d be without it. You guys have lifted me up. Thank you. Love to you all.”

The vibrant and exciting Indian-inspired event included dance performances from RDM (Rhythms of Dance & Music) students (directed by Mitra Purkayastha) and musical performances from Aakash Deep (a signed vocalist of Time Music India). Aakash extends his thanks to Shrabani for pulling the concert together. “A very special thanks to Ms Shrabani Nandi for managing and executing the event so wonderfully. And of course from Mitra and the RDM students who added many colours to the palette of ‘Monpanshi’. Thank you once again. Your support truly helped the cause!”

And this isn’t the first event these guys have organised to support Khushi Feet. In 2015, Aakash Deep’s ‘Antorer Antoraley’ concert raised $3602 for Khushi Feet and personally went out to visit the GNCEM street schools in Kolkata to hand over the cheque.

Once again, we are incredibly overwhelmed by the fundraising of Shrabani and her team. When we expressed our gratitude to her, her response was this: “I am really happy and honoured to be a part of your great cause. Honestly, you inspire me to be a better person. I literally got inspired by Khushi Feet’s work.”

Well, things have come full circle now, and Shrabani is inspiring us! If she’s inspired you to do something to raise some money for Khushi Feet, please get in touch. However big or small, simple or off-the-wall your fundraising idea is, go for it! Being part of Khushi Feet and doing something which will help change the lives of some of the poorest children in the world is incredibly rewarding and actually, it’s great fun too! We can guarantee it’ll make you feel ‘khushi’.

Khushi Concert in the USA – ‘The Musical Paperboat’

Khushi Concert in the USA – ‘The Musical Paperboat’

Last year, New York-based Indian musician Aakash Deep got in touch with us here at Khushi Feet and said that he shared our passion for wanting to help street children in Kolkata, India. He took action decided to put on a fundraising concert to raise money for Khushi Feet. The concert (which was called ‘ANTORER ANTORALEY’) was a huge success and raised $3602 (over £2000) for Khushi Feet to send out to the street schools we support in Kolkata.

Aakash even went out to visit Subir Roy (the founder of the GNCEM street schools) in Kolkata to give him the funds in person. In response to this visit, Aakash said: “I don’t know how to express my joy after seeing the work GNCEM are doing to support these children and helping society on Kolkata.”

This year, our amazing friends over in the States are putting on another concert to raise even more money for us to send out to help Kolkata’s street children and their schools. The concert, presented by Aakash Deep and Alo, is called ‘MONPANSHI’(মনপানসি) – ‘The Musical Paperboat’. The event will include musical performances from Aakash Deep (a signed vocalist of ‘Times Music India’), and dance performances from RDM (Rhythms of Dance & Music) students directed by Mitra Purkayastha. Aakash Deep and Alo describe the concert as a “small humble effort to be the change we wish to see in the world”.

Shrabani Nandi is organsing the event. She says, “It is a great philanthropic cause. We can help a street child’s education and enhance the quality of life of these kids. It’s one small step for us, but one great step for humanity.”

The ‘MONPANSHI’ concert will be taking place on Saturday 6 May 2017, from 5pm, at North Brunswick High School (98 Raider Rd, North Brunswick Township, New Jersey 08902). Tickets cost $15. For tickets, call (917) 683 7576.

You can also visit the event’s Facebook page.

It promises to be a great concert, so if you are local to the area, make sure you don’t miss out. Buy your tickets today! All proceeds go towards the education of street children in Kolkata.

Glastonbury 2017

Glastonbury 2017

WE’RE GOING TO GLASTONBURY!

Yes, that’s right… Khushi is going to be heading down to this year’s Glastonbury Festival for some seriously muddy Khushi Feet fundraising and Khushi Hands trading!

Khushi Hands has been offered a trading stall. We are looking forward to selling our hand-crafted recycled-sari artisan products to the 175,000+ people attending the festival.

Khushi Feet, meanwhile, is providing a team of volunteers to do the litter picking on site in exchange for donations to the charity.

Glastonbury is the largest festival in the world, showcasing some of the most famous artists on the planet. Khushi is only a small organisation but we are always striving to make our fundraising and awareness raising as big and exciting as possible. So we are thrilled to have the amazing opportunity to attend Glastonbury Festival 2017 – 21st-25th June at Worthy Farm.

Khushi Christmas

Khushi Christmas

Come and celebrate Christmas with Khushi Feet at our festive family-friendly Coffee Morning! It will be held at Faversham Baptist Church on Saturday 10th December from 10am until 12:30pm. There will plenty of fun to be had for people of all ages, including . .

– Khushi the Cow’s Grotto
– Game & Activities for Children
– Bric-a-Brac Bargains
– Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate and Sweet & Savoury Treats
– Sponsor a Street Child

PLUS! The Launch of Khushi Hands – a Community Interest Company which sells artisan Indian recycled-sari products (cards, bags, purses etc) handcrafted by underprivileged women living in Kolkata. Grab yourself a beautiful and ethical Christmas gift.

See you there!

Day Fourteen – Indian Museum & Packing for Home

Day Fourteen – Indian Museum & Packing for Home

By Stefano

Today is our last day in Kolkata, this has resulted in us not doing all that much and stirring up many mixed thoughts and emotions.

All just about fit and healthy, if not very tired, we went for coffee at about mid morning in a café called 8th Day, which supports women trapped in Kolkata’s sex trade. It was a strangely western café for a side street of Kolkata but all the same very nice. Then we came back to where we have been staying and did some packing. After lunch we went off to The Indian Museum, a rather strange museum in that one of the exhibits was was made out of plywood and yet claimed to be the Rosetta Stone. It also included some dead animals which had a sign to tell us that they were “some animals that lived a long time ago” – very helpful! Even more helpful was when they stopped the translation of the information in the middle of a sentence because they couldn’t fit it in – we found these quirks very entertaining!

Then we went straight to Fire and Ice – an Italian restaurant – for a last team meal which wasn’t curried!

All in all an incredible two weeks and a very nice final day.

EPILOGUE: As the team is flying home tomorrow, this will be the last daily blog post, so thanks for reading and following our trip to Kolkata. It’s been amazing and challenging; heartbreaking and joyful all at the same time. As we said at the beginning, this trip has been a life changing experience for the team members which has moulded them into young people who are eager to make a difference in our world.

Day Thirteen – Mother House & Salt Lake Slum

Day Thirteen – Mother House & Salt Lake Slum

By Hannah

Mother Teresa worked with the poorest of the poor, of which there are many in Kolkata. The place where she lived, worked and died is only minutes from where we are staying and that’s where we headed first. The room she lived in was very humble with only basic furniture such as a bed and desk. But the whole place was filled with a sense of peace and calm. Inside the house it says that Mother Teresa’s life and service were based on the gospel passage ‘Truly I Say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it for me’ Matthew 25v40.

After this we visited the Salt Lake Slum to see the work of the SEED Society (Save Entrust Equip Disciple). In Pastor Piyas and Sister Jayashree who are running this project I could see the attitude of Mother Teresa at work in the modern day slums of Kolkata.

The conditions in the slum were shocking and totally heart breaking to see. There is no clean or running water, no electricity and the ‘homes’ are put together out of whatever can be found lying around. However as I looked around at the work SEED are doing and saw the smiles on the faces of the children I could feel a sense of hope and purpose coming from the people living there.

SEED have managed to get the older children into Indian schools and have set up a school teaching the younger ones while the parents are at work. The children did a performance for us involving some very impressive Indian dancing while we tried not to die of the heat! For the first time in India it was actually hotter inside than out (no air conditioning). Then we did a story and some songs with them including ‘Allelu’ which seems to be a favourite.

We also saw the fantastic projects that SEED are doing with the women. The women come twice a week to do a course in tailoring, hairdressing or beautification. They are also taught to read and write. We heard the story of one woman, who after completing the beautification course has opened her own mobile shop allowing her to support herself and her family. Another woman said how proud she was of now being able to read and write as it gave her a feeling of dignity. A skill we don’t even think about allowed her to sign her name at the bank and stop being cheated by people taking advantage. These women also said that after praying for their husbands they have noticed a remarkable difference in their behaviour for the better. Later in the day we saw the beauty salon that three of the women from the slums run after completing the beautification course.

SEED have also given solar lamps to the slum so that the school aged children are able to study. Before this the children would go out onto the streets in the evenings and find a street lamp to sit under so they could do their homework. That’s how keen to learn they are!

“The greatest poverty is being unloved, unwanted and uncared for” ~ Mother Teresa

“Today the poor of the world are looking up at you, do you look at them with compassion? Do you have compassion for the poor who are hungry? They are hungry not only for bread and rice, they are hungry to be recognised as human” ~ Mother Teresa

It would be easy to look around at the poverty in Kolkata and think ‘the problem is too extensive there’s nothing I could possibly do to help’ but I am reminded of a quote of Mother Teresa ‘I alone can’t change the world but I can cast a stone to create many ripples’.

Day Twelve – Hatibagan Mobile School (again!)

Day Twelve – Hatibagan Mobile School (again!)

By Emily

Kolkata has a very special place in my heart. Being back here – in the City of Joy – has been bringing back so many memories; memories of the things I saw and did which inspired me to set up Khushi Feet back in 2012. 

Back in the UK, when Khushi Feet is fundraising for the street schools here in Kolkata, we’re not seeing first-hand how much of a difference our money is making. Fundraising is hard work and often, the only thing that motivates me to keep going is my memories of the street schools here. These memories remind me just how much of a lifeline these schools really are for street children.

Let me share with you a perfect example of this…

Today we were back at the Hatibagan (which means ‘Elephant Garden’) Mobile School. During play time, I was chatting with an inspiring young woman called Nasreen. Many years ago when she was a little girl, Nasreen used to live on the streets of Kolkata. I asked her to describe what this was like, but she couldn’t tell me. It was a difficult time for her as her father passed away – the memories were too painful for her to recall. She started coming to GNCEM’s mobile school at Hatibagan and very quickly realised how much of a fantastic opportunity it was for her. Before long she moved up to the Girls Hostel where she successfully completed her exams. Nasreen is now a teacher at the Hatibagan school.

Nasreen is only 20, but is very mature for her years. Living on the streets hasn’t hardened her, however in talking to her I can tell that she is an incredibly strong woman. At the same time, she has a very calm and gentle presence – she engages perfectly with her young students from the streets and can relate to them completely. She clearly still doesn’t take anything in her life for granted and she is eternally grateful to GNCEM for helping her off the streets and into employment.

The street schools which Khushi Feet supports are changing lives. Fact. After meeting Nasreen, I will be heading home on Sunday with a renewed enthusiasm for continuing to support these schools. 

I have spent the last couple of days chatting with the directors of the GNCEM schools about how we can help on the near future. There are some very exciting ideas in the pipeline, so watch this space! 

No one person can change the world or eradicate extreme poverty. But we can all do our bit and when we pull together, lives can be changed. I have seen a real-life example of this today in Nasreen. I hope you will support Khushi Feet and join us as we continue to help provide street children with an education – these beautiful kids deserve their footsteps to freedom.